BREAKING: Two Helicopters Down (Updated)
The 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, Lakenheath, England, has released the following information:
Capt. Christopher S. Stover, Capt. Sean M. Ruane, Tech. Sgt. Dale E. Mathews, and Staff Sgt. Afton M. Ponce were the HH-60G Pave Hawk aircrew members killed in a crash on the Norfolk coast in England Jan. 7.
An HH-60G helicopter carries a four-person aircrew: a pilot, co-pilot, and two special mission aviators who are qualified as both gunners and flight engineers. On this particular mission, Stover and Ruane were the pilots, and Mathews and Ponce were the special mission aviators.
“We continue to think of the loved ones who are experiencing such a tragic, sudden loss,” said Col. Kyle Robinson, the 48th Fighter Wing commander. “The Liberty Wing feels as though it has lost members of its family, and we stand by to support one another and these Airmen’s families during this difficult time.”
The accident is currently under investigation, and more details will be released as they become available.
Having served in England, having flown extensively (as a crew member) all over that country in all kinds of weather and aware of the severe storms England has been experiencing, it is with a heavy heart that I post the following breaking news:
Four Airmen were killed in an Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crash at about 6 p.m. Jan. 7 near Salthouse on the Norfolk coast in England.
Names of the Airmen killed in the crash will be released 24 hours after next-of-kin notifications.
U.S. military officials are coordinating the recovery efforts with the U.K. police and the Ministry of Defence. The authorities have secured the crash site and established a cordon.
The aircraft, assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing, was performing a low-level training mission along the coast when the crash occurred.
As soon as additional details become available, they will be provided.
This is in tragic addition to another helicopter reported down:
One crew member has been confirmed dead following the crash this morning of a U.S. Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter in the Virginia Capes.
Three crew members are being evaluated at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Their conditions are not known at this time.
The search for the fifth crew member is continuing.
The identity of the deceased crew member will not be released until 24 hours after the notification of next of kin.
Image : MH-53E Helicopter Courtesy US Navy